Such depiction of twin geese or birds was popular from the Song through to the Qing dynasties, however, the combination of distinct yet simple forms with freely incised detailing, as seen on the birds' feathers, is reminiscent of naturalistic carvings of animals in the Ming dynasty. A closely related jade group of two mandarin ducks, also attributed to the Ming dynasty, was sold in our rooms, 8th April 2013, lot 3220. Compare also a grey jade carving of ducks, attributed to the late Ming dynasty, sold at Christie's London, 17th May 2013, lot 1472.
Geese in China are closely associated with the calligrapher Wang Xizhi (AD 303-361). Wang's fondness for geese was legendary and the story of him copying the Daoist classic Daodejing for a priest in exchange for a white goose is well known. The symbolic association of the goose with Wang, coupled with the graceful form of this piece would have carried a powerful meaning to its owner and to any member of the literati class.
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